FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) – The best player on the court, Spencer Dinwiddie, played like it for Colorado. And made certain the Buffaloes defeated their in-state rival.
“He was terrific,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “He took the game over in the second half and was the difference.”
Dinwiddie scored 19 of his game-high 28 points in the second half leading Colorado to a 67-62 victory.
“I thought Dinwiddie, who likes to talk publicly, backed it up, and I admire a guy for that” Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said. “He just dominated the game at the end, controlled the whole pace of the game and we had no answers.”
Dinwiddie, 11 for 11 from the free throw line, sealed the game with two free throws with 14.3 seconds left for Colorado (8-1). Askia Booker added 12 points and Jaron Hopkins had 10 including two clutch 3-pointers in the final 4:29 for the Buffaloes, winners of eight straight.
“We had been stalling offensively,” Dinwiddie said. “That’s when I decided to take over.”
J.J. Avila led Colorado State (6-3) with 16 points, but was 4-for-19 shooting. Avila missed a chance to tie the game at 63 with a missed free throw with 24 seconds left.
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“The game broke us down,” said Eustachy. “We couldn’t absorb that bad shooting. We couldn’t from our three best players (7-for-40).”
Daniel Bejarano had 15 points as Colorado State had its four-game winning streak snapped. The Rams hurt themselves with 18 turnovers and 3-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc.
Joe DeCiman’s jumper put Colorado State ahead 53-48 with 9:22 left, but Hopkins hit two 3-pointers to put Colorado ahead 58-57 with 3:34 to go.
Bejarano’s free throw tied it a 58. Diwiddie countered with five straight points through the middle of the Colorado State defense before Carlton Hurst stopped the run with a layup to cut it to 63-60.
The Rams made only two free throws the rest of the way while Diwiddie, who went over 1,000 points for his career, made two himself with 14.3 seconds left.
Dinwiddie accounted for eight points as Colorado moved ahead 42-40 at the start of the second half. The Rams regained the lead, 46-44, on Bejarano’s pull up jumper.
“We couldn’t take the halftime talk into the second half which was to stop them into half court,” said Eustachy. I think they got four or five easy transition baskets to start the second half.”
Despite the Rams shooting 18 percent for the first eight minutes, the Buffaloes struggled with seven turnovers over the same stretch. Dinwiddie broke the game open with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer and Xavier Talton added a short jumper to pull the Buffaloes ahead 19-12.
The Rams heated up after two free throws by Bejarano began a 15-4 run capped Avila’s reverse layup pulled them ahead 27-23 with 2:33 remaining. Bejarno’s NBA trey made it 32-26, but Dinwiddie came back with a driving layup for Colorado to reduce the lead to four at halftime.
“This was our first real test in a hostile environment,” Dinwiddie said. And we passed the test.”
By DALE BUBLITZ, Associated Press
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